On the Last Sunday of the Church Year — or the Last Sunday in Ordinary Time, depending on your liturgical calendar — there’s no better musical commentary than Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata #140, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Wake, Awake, For Night Is Flying)! In this vividly dramatic work, written for the Divine Service at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche, Bach sets all three stanzas of Philipp Nicolai’s Lutheran chorale from 1598, along with recitative and aria texts based on Matthew 25:1-13, Christ’s parable of the ten virgins.
Enjoy a performance of the complete cantata by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Chorus, directed by Ton Koopman, below. For the German text and a parallel English translation, click here.
— Rick Krueger